Sunday, February 23, 2014

Krugman > (Geithner + Bernanke)

What Did I Know and When Did I Know It?
I'll humbly point out that I, a total outsider with a mere bachelors degree in Economics, also had a better read than Geithner, Summers, and Bernanke.  But then, nobody is paying me to paint a rosy picture.

The big takeaway from the 2008 Fed transcripts is that for the most part Fed officials other than Janet Yellen and Eric Rosengren failed to appreciate the danger the economy was in — that many were preoccupied with the supposed threat of inflation even as a once-in-three-generations crisis in demand was building. So, how excusable was this lack of perceptiveness? Well, we all know the simple test of whether officials can be forgiven for getting things wrong: If you yourself also got it wrong, then there is no blame — who could have known? If you got it right, then they were idiots. OK, maybe that's not such a good criterion. And I honestly wasn't going to go through my own contemporary writings. But Brad DeLong has already done the homework, and if I am not for myself, who will be for me? So here we go. On January 7, 2008, I was already sure that we were facing something nasty:

Click through for the bigger picture.  Some of us had it very right.  The guys who get paid the big bucks had it spectacularly wrong . . . are as usual, were rewarded for it.

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